Jewish revenge in the works? A group of Jewish men have apparently been granted religious approval to carry out an act of retribution in retaliation for the attack on the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem last week, Channel 1 reported Tuesday.
According to the report, several 25-35-year old men met with two prominent rabbinical figures – the first a rabbi at Mercaz Harav yeshiva and the second a rabbi known in far Right circles – two days after the attack, to discus possible retribution.
After reaching the conclusion that the IDF is unlikely to retaliate for the attack, the rabbis apparently sanctioned an independent act of revenge, giving three of the men – all believed to be yeshiva graduates who served in the IDF and are licensed to carry arms – several books on the redemption of the Land of Israel.
Three of the men then met with a Bnei Brak rabbi, the head of a Sephardic yeshiva, and introduced him to the notion of retribution in the form of harming an Arab figure associated with Temple Mount.
The rabbi, said Channel 1, gave them his blessing.
However, the Mercaz Harav yeshiva vehemently denied reports that any student or rabbi associated with the seminary planned to carry out an attack on Arabs.
"This report is baseless, and as proof of that, no arrests have been made," the yeshiva said in its respons, adding a libel suit against Channel 1 is being considered.
Moreover, Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, head of Mercaz Harav yeshiva, called a special meeting of the students after Education Minister Yuli Tamir was attacked on her visit to the Jewish seminary, in which he urged them not to seek vengeance.
Sources close to the Yesha Rabbis' Committee told Ynet that "it looks like the Shin Bet is behind this report; it sounds to stereotypical... although some of the public may think retribution is in order in this case."
Other right wing elements said that while the atmosphere may be grave it was highly unlikely that the rabbis would sanction a vendetta.
Defense establishment monitors developments
Meanwhile, the defense establishment has been following similar reports suggesting the possibility of Jewish radicals carrying out an act of revenge
A Security source told Ynet that there is great difficulty tracking Jewish elements looking to harm Arabs, citing the 2005 Eden Natan Zada case, in which an IDF deserter opened fire on a bus in the Arab town of Shfaram, killing four.
That was a lone, unforeseeable attack, said the source, and while the defense establishment is looking into several reports indicating some Jewish elements might seek revenge, no concrete leads are available.
Should am imminent threat be detected, concluded the source, the defense establishment will not hesitate to stop it.
National Religious Party Chairman MK Zevulun Orlev called on Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter to order the immediate arrest of those suspected of allegedly planning a retaliatory act against Arabs, if indeed there are any.
"Some may try to find fault in religion Zionism while it grieves for its sons," said Orlev. "If no arrests are made it would just go to prove that this (report) is nothing but a malicious lie."
Hanan Greenberg, Amnon Meranda and Neta Sela contributed to this report